Ultrasound Modalities Or Specializations For Sonographers

There are many modalities, or specializations within the world of ultrasound. Once ultrasound sonographers are registered within one area of ultrasound through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS), they often pursue competency in other areas as well. Ultrasound sonographers are able to achieve this through on the job cross training, and ultimately obtain credentials in other ultrasound modalities.

 For example, a ultrasound sonographer who is registered in abdominal ultrasound may expand his or her training into the OB/GYN modality, and eventually seek registry in that area. As a result, sonographers who obtain registry in multiple modalities broaden their marketability. This amplifies employment opportunities, and often results in an increase of earnings. Sonographers that are registered with more than one modality can also become employed at multiple facilities. For example, a ultrasound sonographer who has Abdominal and Vascular registry may be employed at a private vascular facility in addition to maintaining employment at a hospital. Sonographers who seek additional credentials, or are registered in multiple modalities may also have greater opportunities for financial and career advancement through multiple employers, management opportunities, conducting research, and/or education. 

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers/Ultrasound Technologists may specialize in any of the modalities listed below.

Abdominal and Small Parts
Abdominal sonographers generally produce images of an organ or organ system within the patient’s abdominal cavity. Abdominal structures include: liver, biliary system, pancreas, great vessels, spleen, urinary system, thyroid, breast, and male reproductive system. The images produced during an abdominal ultrasound aid in the diagnosis and treatment of certain disorders and diseases.

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)
OB/GYN sonographers specialize in the imaging of the female reproductive system. One of the most common associations of ultrasound is the imaging of a fetus of a pregnant woman to monitor the baby’s growth and health.

Breast Sonography
Breast Sonography is utilized in the fight against breast cancer. Images of the breast tissue and blood supply are often used in tumor detection. Breast ultrasound is often partnered with mammography.

Neurosonography generates diagnostic images of the nervous system, including the brain. Neurosonographers often work in the area of neonatal care, diagnosing and studying the conditions of the neurological and nervous system of premature infants.

Vascular Technology
Vascular technologists focus on disorders that affect the circulation of blood flow in the arteries and veins. Vascular technologists assess blood flow and irregularities or abnormalities by carefully listening to the sound of pulses and overall vascular flow.

Echocardiographers are ultrasound technologists who study the heart, its chambers valves and vessels. EKG’s, stress testing and Holter monitor procedures are implemented to produce images called echocardiograms. In some instances the patient must be physically active in order to perform a specific exam and is required to walk on a treadmill at varying speeds. 

The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) provides the following credentials:

  •     RDMS- Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  •     RDCS- Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer
  •     RVT- Registered Vascular Technologist
  •     RPVI- Registered Physician Vascular Interpretation


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